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Fuel Up for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Chicago Marathon

photo credit: Tristan Zeier

The 2017 Bank of America Chicago Marathon is almost here, and as one of the city’s biggest events, it is also one of our most exciting. We’ve been proud to be on the frontline as the exclusive caterer for more than 25 years sharing our food with the runners, their families, and the many people that dedicate their time to this world-class event. This year, the marathon is extra special as it celebrates its 40th anniversary: as it grows, we have grown with it!

If you are heading out to the Bank of America Chicago Marathon next Sunday, try our tips for fueling up. See you at the finish line!

Ramp Up On the Carbs

Pasta lover’s rejoice. It is a common recommendation to eat pasta or carb-heavy meals leading up to a rigorous event such as a marathon. According to LiveScience, the body uses the molecules from carbs to produce glucose which can be stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen (aka energy) for future use.

To get your pasta fix, visit our sister restaurant, tesori trattoria & bar for homemade bolognese lasagna or head over to Park Grill in Millennium Park for their annual pre-race Pasta Dinner.

Related: With fall ingredients now here, squash is a great addition to pasta or even a replacement for noodles! Read our chef tips for use and a recipe for roasting.

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Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Going into a marathon properly hydrated is important for both performance as well as safety from dehydration, It’s also something you can’t just do the day of. Take the monotony out of these last few days before the marathon with a catering tip: infuse your water with fresh fruit and herbs such as mint, fruit such as strawberries and watermelon and even cucumbers. The fruit may even have the benefit of adding natural sugars that can help performance. For additional flavor without extra sugar, you can also freeze 100 percent fruit juice into ice cube trays and add them to your water glass.

Swap Fiber for Fresh Fruit

Eating fiber is good for you, but before a marathon, you may want to hold off on your bran cereal and swap it for bananas which provide both carbohydrates and low fiber benefits according to Runner’s World. Other fruits such as apples without the peels are other good options for low-fiber midday snacks. Take a tip from our kitchen and pre-slice fruit for the week so that it’s easy to grab.

Dive into a Post-Run Feast

After running 26 miles, you’ll need to refuel fast to start to repair the body. It is suggested to eat within 30 minutes after a race where the body can best convert carbohydrates and proteins. This is where our classic Marathon breakfast and lunch gets the medal. Complete with made-to-order omelettes, classic and healthy breakfast stations, fresh, seasonal salads, plus, plenty of sweet treats of course, it is truly a feast.

Preview photos of last year’s marathon, and good luck to everyone participating!

10 Ways to Use a Caterer (That’s Not for a Wedding)


Weddings typically take the main stage when thinking about collaborating with a caterer, but the many ways to work with one span from the smallest, intimate gathering to large-scale, city-wide events; if there’s food involved, rest assured, a good caterer can do it. “Outside of food, our caterer can always direct you with budgetary concerns, dealing with groups, wording on invitations, connecting with other vendors, event budgets, flow, menus, etiquette…it’s what we do,” says Senior Sales Consultant, Rachel Razowsky. Large or small and anything in between, we can do it all. Read more below on 10 Ways to Use a Caterer (That’s Not for a Wedding).

1. Corporate Events

Caterers in Chicago
Caterers in Chicago

2016 Relativity Fest at The Field Museum of Natural History; Photo Credit: Blue Plate Catering

Our capacity for large-scale events makes us a go-to for the many corporate events throughout Chicagoland. Last year, Blue Plate helped kCura, recently rebranded as Relativity, celebrate its annual Relativity Fest conference with a networking bash at The Field Museum in collaboration with long-time, décor partner HMR Designs. This year, we helped Relativity roll out the company’s rebrand at their Summer Jam employee outing at Northerly Island with a special branded donut wall.


2. Award Parties/Galas

Chicago Innovation Awards
Chicago Innovation Awards

2016 Chicago Innovation Un-Gala at Morgan Manufacturing; Photo credit: Sean Su of SpotMyPhotos

Outside of great food and exceptional service, a caterer can also be a terrific resource for elevating an event theme. For the 2016 Chicago Innovation Un-Gala honoring celebrity chef Rick Bayless, our team took inspiration from the theme of reinvention and Bayless’ culinary contributions to Mexican cuisine. We created a unique, 3-course menu using signature ingredients that embody Bayless’ culinary perspective and style. Dishes like Sweet Corn Polenta Ravioli and Sweet Tamale wove a delightful Mexican-themed, thread and provided a visual stunner for quests.


3. Holiday Parties

Holiday Party Planning Ideas
Holiday Party Planning Ideas

Right: 2016 Crate & Barrel Holiday Party at Venue One North Shore, Photo Credit: Collin Pierson Photography; Left: Neopolitan Milkshakes; Photo Credit Blue Plate Catering

Holiday parties, whether social or corporate, are the perfect time to kick back and celebrate with family, friends and co-workers. And, the Blue Plate treatment can make it THE party of the year for your circle of friends or organization. With exclusive access to more than 85 venues around Chicago, including this year’s premiere SNL Exhibit at Museum of Broadcast Communications, and custom-created menus, our event planning team can take the guesswork out of throwing a holiday bash.

4. Social Gatherings

Larkin Hall, Blue Plate Catering
Larkin Hall, Blue Plate Catering

Intimate Birthday Party at Larkin Hall, new home of Blue Plate Catering, Photo Credit: Juancho SC Photography

Event the most intimate events can leave a lasting impression when set in the right space with the right details. Our new home, Larkin Hall in the West Loop Fulton Market District is the perfect venue for throwing a stellar birthday party, celebrating a wedding anniversary, or hosting an employee happy hour, all with a view of downtown from our second-floor terrace. Read more about our available venue spaces and what’s coming down the road.


5. Delivery/Business Meetings

lunch delivery in Chicago
lunch delivery in Chicago

Right: NeoCon 2017 at Merchandise Mart; Photo Credit: Blue Plate Catering; Left: HMR and Blue Plate Catering at Dahlia Farm; Photo Credit: Kent Drake

Did you know our award-winning catering is also available via delivery with our DIRECT from Blue Plate program. Imagine lunch meetings with specially packaged boxed lunches, ready-made buffets, morning presentations with fresh pastries, coffee and hand-held sandwiches or specialty snack packages for an afternoon refuel. Not only does DIRECT give employees something to talk about, it eliminates the hassle of focusing on food when you need to focus on other things. A dedicated customer and delivery team can guide you through creating a seamless drop-off program complete with all disposables that fits any of your in-office needs. 


6. Boats/Outdoor Events

Catering in Chicago
Catering in Chicago

Left: HMR and Blue Plate Catering at Dahlia Farm; Photo Credit: Kent Drake Photography; Right: Ft. Dearborn; Photo Credit: Chicagoline Cruises

Our chefs don’t need a professional kitchen to bring your event to life (we have magic tricks!). If you can dream it, we can do it. From classic farm-to-table events, to seafood-inspired Low Country Boils, to a summer boat cruise down Lake Michigan or the Chicago River replete with fancy hor d’oeurves and Champagne, the outdoors offer a creative way to engage guests without the confines of four walls. Passed hors d’oeuvres and Champagne are a big hit on boats as well as cheese and charcuterie platters, giving an event the “cocktail/fancy” feel without the fancy budget.

7. Chef Collaborations

Guests attend Dinner en Blanc, a communal picnic in which attendees wear all white, in Chicago, IL on Thursday August 24, 2017. Photographer: Christopher Dilts / Sipa USA

Left: Diner en Blanc 2017 in collaboration with Chef Cleetus Friedman at Theater on the Lake; Right:  2017 Mastercard Priceless Dinner with James Beard Guest Chef Sarah Grueneberg at Symphony Center.

Throughout the year, we get the honor to collaborate with many of the city’s known chefs on special menus and occasions including working side-by-side with James Beard award-winning chef, Sarah Grueneberg, for a special MasterCard event at Symphony Center this summer and Cleetus Friedman for the 2017 Dîner en Blanc at Theater on the Lake.


8. City-Wide Events

Chicago Marathon
Chicago Marathon

2016 Bank of America Chicago Marathon; Photo Credit: Tristan Zeier

Feeding a city takes a lot of resources and time, and our involvement as an exclusive caterer for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon for more than 25 years is something we get excited about every fall. Last year we fed almost 4,000 guests our award-winning catering, and this year we anticipate more for the 40th anniversary.

9. Product Launches

Chicago Woman Magazine
Chicago Woman Magazine

Chicago Woman Magazine September/October 2017 Issue Launch; Photo Credit: Blue Plate Catering

Using a caterer for a brand or product launch is a great way to create buzz and excitement for your company. Last month, we hosted more than 100 of Chicago Woman magazine’s friends and network in our Terrace Room at Larkin Hall for the launch of their September/October fall issue and their second-year anniversary. Our space lends itself to various action stations and passed hors d’oeuvres, and our built-in bar makes it easy for in-house mixologist, Lov Carpenter, to shake up crafty cocktails.


10. Customized Menus

Caterers in Chicago
Caterers in Chicago

Photo Credit: Blue Plate Catering

Customization isn’t usually equated with catering but it’s one of the biggest benefits you get when working with Blue Plate. Whether it’s a special themed event to match your specific tastes, recreating your grandma’s pie recipe for 100 people, or designing a whole menu for a group with special dietary restrictions, our talented culinary team can literally do anything.


Contact our sales concierge team to talk about your special event and foodservice needs.

A Fashionable Evening with Jason Wu for the GREY Dinner Series


When fashion and food intersect, the result is a harmonic celebration of aesthetic and design.


Last month, we had the honor of participating in such an event when we hosted celebrated fashion designer, Jason Wu and an intimate group of his friends in our venue space and new home, Larkin Hall for the fifth installment of his GREY Dinner Series celebrating the fall launch of his GREY collection at Nordstrom.

The GREY Jason Wu Dinner Series is an extension of Jason’s passion for home entertaining and cooking, so it was important to his team that the evening feel intimate and interactive. To capture the essence of a summer evening spent with friends and speak to the celebration of life that is the inspiration behind the GREY collection, we proposed “A Midsummer’s Night Dream with Jason Wu,” playing to both the designed yet whimsical.